All these articles are sourced from the internet. My aim is to forewarn the lonely and trusting people who attempt online dating.
How to spot a Con Man
Just like the Internet, fraud tactics evolve over time. There was a time when con men used cheesy photos of models from magazines. They wrote profiles that seemed absolutely perfect. It was pretty easy to see a match and identify him or her as too good to be true. However an obvious con man is out of the business very quickly, so their tactics have improved. Here is a list of some of the “new and improved” ways con men are trying to get your attention.
Con men look more average than ever
Con men now use very average photos in their profiles. They may steal Facebook photos or photos from the many blogs and social network pages we all have. They may even be impersonating someone of the opposite gender. It is no longer easy to tell if someone is likely a scammer based solely on their photos. While photos are important, don’t put complete stock in them.
Con men are more subtle than ever
Someone you’re dating is not likely to ask for your bank account number, but you may end up in a conversation where your date asks what high school you went to, or where you were born, or your first pet’s name. They aren’t going to blurt it out in an odd way. They may talk about themselves and talk about their first dog, and ask, “Did you have a pet when you were a kid?” It’s going to sound natural because, as we said, obvious con men are out of the game quickly. Of course, this kind of information is what banking sites ask when you’ve forgotten your password. And if you’ve been emailing back and forth with that person, they have all the information they need to access your accounts. Be on guard and don’t reveal too many personal details to someone you’re just getting to know.
Con men are no longer in a hurry
One of the hallmarks of fraud used to be the big rush. They wanted to push and push and get something from you quickly. Today’s con men take their time. They may invest in hundreds of IM’s, emails, and calls. They may see you in person many times. They know that time puts people at ease. Many victims of fraud have cited “all our time together” as the reason they were willing to hand over personal information and money. Don’t let your guard down, no matter how well you think your relationship is progressing.
Con men are into social media
“I Googled her and she had a LinkedIn account and a Facebook account, so I thought she was legit.” Yes, con men (and women) have learned about social media. They know that people are vetting them in the social spaces and have responded accordingly. If you find that a new romantic interest has a history on these services, it isn’t a guarantee against fraud. Watch out for the warning signs and don’t become complacent just because you found other information online.
Con men are excellent Phishermen
As you may know, “phishing” is the act of securing private information by appearing to be a trusted source and sending links that download personal information or install a damaging virus. A con man will send you an email with a link and write, “Watch this video. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” One click of the link and passwords, credit card numbers and other personal data can be removed from your computer. This email can be sent on a site like Facebook, in your personal email, or within eHarmony’s internal email system. Know what you’re clicking on before you click.
Con men can get you to do the strangest things
It seems hard to believe, but many acts of fraud have been committed because a con man has persuaded a user to let him/her log into their account. This usually happens after the con man and his victim have been in communication for a considerable period of time, and a certain amount of trust has been established. One of the favorite tactics is to send a message saying, “I want you to see what I wrote in my profile. If you click on this link, it will take you to it, but you may have to log in first.” Sometimes, a con man will simply say, “I’ve been hurt so many times in the past. Can I log into your account and make sure that you’ve turned off your matching?” Never give your log-in credentials to anyone. If they exhibit signs of trust issues, perhaps it’s better to pursue a relationship with someone else.
These warnings can seem daunting, but we’ve found that the best way to prevent con men (and women) from succeeding is to keep our users fully informed of their tactics. For all their complex schemes con men are completely dependent upon your cooperation. At some point, you have to give them access, information, or money before they can commit their fraudulent activities.
These three rules will help protect you from most kinds of Internet fraud.
A person who asks for money is almost certainly a con man.
A person who asks for access to your online accounts is almost certainly a con man.
A person who asks specific personal questions about where you bank, your address, pet’s names, school names, etc. is likely a con man.
5 Tips for Spotting a Con Man
So you’ve met someone online and they look amazing on paper. Too good to be true? Well, they might be.
While the vast majority of people you meet online are honest and well-meaning, there are a few nefarious con men (and women) trolling the Internet looking to scam money. They figure the quickest way to your wallet is through your heart.
Fortunately, there are warning signs to help you avoid becoming a victim.
They Are A Little Too Good Looking
A profile photo that features a phenomenally good-looking person may be red flag.
Note the quality of the photograph. Anything too professional-looking should raise your suspicion levels. Scammers frequently pull photos of models from stock photography sites and use them as their own to attract people.
Look for any inconsistencies between the photo and the person’s self-description. If they claim to be down-to-earth and unconcerned with physical beauty, yet their picture looks like a Hollywood headshot, that should raise a question.
And if you happen to be one of those sincere, honest, beautiful people, make sure you include several snapshots that show you relaxing at home or with friends in addition to your professional headshot.
They Want To Move Too Fast
You meet someone online, you exchange an e-mail or two, and then all of a sudden they want your phone number—like right now. Our advice is to proceed with caution. With every virtual relationship, there’s a natural progression from e-mails to IM, to phone calls to finally, meeting in person. It doesn’t have to be in this order, per se, but use this as a general rule.
A person who wants to bypass from step A directly to Z should be considered suspicious.
They Seem Too Good To Be True
Scammers have a knack for creating online personas that are very attractive.
The down-to-earth single father who has fallen head over heels in love.
The beautiful young woman from a foreign country who needs help.
The wealthy doctor who has finally found someone who understands him.
These scams are successful because the perpetrators are great at crafting believable situations that lower your guard. They need to gain trust in order to ask for money in the future.
Whenever you meet someone online who seems too good to be true or falls in love with you too quickly it’s time to step back and consider the situation. This person may be genuine and honest, but you’ll want to move forward in a cautious, deliberate manner looking for any other suspicious behavior.
They Want Money
If a person you meet online asks you for money, chances are, the person is a scammer. It’s really that simple. They may have a persuasive story. They may have an “emergency.” They may only need a “loan.” Whatever this person may tell you we strongly encourage you to NEVER send money to someone you meet online.
Once you’ve established a real face-to-face relationship for a period of time you’ll be able to assess whether sharing money is a good idea. Until then, don’t do it.
And if the person asking for money is out of the country, then you can be assured you’re dealing with a scammer. Nigeria may be the most famous country of origin for email scams, but clever scam artists have taken root in dozens of countries around the world.
They Want Private Information
When we say private information, we aren’t referring to your relationship with your parents or how your last relationship ended; we’re about talking bank accounts, driver’s licenses, social security numbers, etc.
Remember, obvious con men don’t last very long. The successful ones are experts of subtlety; and a seemingly innocuous question, “Where do you bank?” can start the ball rolling in terms of information they need to swindle you out of money or your identity.
If you are convinced you’ve come across a con man, you should notify the site where you met him. The site can check him out and, if they agree with you, remove him or even involve the authorities.
Obviously, most of the people you meet online are good, honest people looking to make a friend, find love or get advice, while a slim percentage are out there to do harm. Now what you know what to look for, you’re less likely to fall victim to a con man.
Another sound piece of advice that you probably heard from Mom: if there’s something that doesn’t sit right with you about a person, that’s your instinct talking. So start walking.
LOVE RATS – ARTICLES IN THE NEWS
U.S. warns: Malaysia becoming a haven for Internet con men
The mostly Nigerian conmen, who enter Malaysia on student visas, take advantage of the country’s good Internet infrastructure to prey on lonely, middle-aged women, wooing them on dating websites before swindling their savings, they said.
The scams are more sophisticated than most Nigeria-based operations – which most Internet users have experienced at some time either via email or advertising – helped by Malaysia’s advanced banking system, which allows perpetrators to quickly set up accounts and receive international transfers.
U.S. officials say Malaysian police lack the resources and expertise to tackle the problem and have yet to launch a single prosecution of a case involving a U.S. victim.
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